Fiberglass vs graphite

Discussion in 'Bamboo, Fiberglass & Classic Reels' started by Bill Johnson, Dec 3, 2009.

  1. Now that manufacturers regularly break the $700 barrier for single handed rods, it really IS about money - or the lack of it.

    Unfortunately, in order to drive demand for their uber-expensive rods, the makers also have to crank up the advertising machine in an attempt to convince prospective buyers that the only way they'll ever catch that fish of a lifetime is on a $700+ rod that most folks can't afford.

  2. I guess that is true based on how you are looking at it, but it doesn't have to be for the consumer. He asked what is "better" and he used $$$ and material as the variables. My point was it doesn't have to be about those two things. While I will awknowledge that some rods or materials have their strengths and weaknesses, this debate will always be about what do you want the rod to do, and what do you enjoy; however we often make it about cost, name brand, and material. When you can build a Batson (or several other brands) for less than half what Sage or Winston costs, it doesn't "have" to be about cost. You don't "have" to pay $700 for a top of the line rod.
    So to a certain point I guess I agree with you, money will certainly always be an issue, especially if we think we really have to have a certain name brand, but it absolutely doesn't have to be as much about money as we make it.
  3. Mike, define "top of the line". :confused:
  4. Some fly rod manufacturers have developed a certain cachet, and in doing so they have developed the brand into something the casual or infrequent fisher lusts after because s/he thinks it will alter their performance.

    All of these discussions on gear performance seem to have a fetishistic bent, as if the user of the tool has no power over the outcome of the test or trial.

    If a $50 fiberglass rod fits your casting idiosyncrasies better than any other rod on the planet, then it is better.

    For you.
  5. Poor choice of words on my part...I should have said "quality". However, even talking about quality or "top of the line" is still a matter of preference. There are those who think that the top of the line Batson is equal if not better than top of the line Sage, at half the price.
  6. Kent,
    that is one very nice traditionally wrapped rod.

    It always amazes me that on many of the "high" end high priced rods the wraps are so minimal. It's kind of like the manufacturers name makes up for the visual appearance of a nicely wrapped rod. True the wraps don't catch more fish but they definately add to the visual esthetics of the rod!

    I like the classic look and your rod definately has that!

    wet line Dave
  7. I certainly agree with you. The Lamiglass 6-piece I posted above cost less than $120 for the blank, shipped. My friend Bill Z. wrapped it for the cost of the components plus a nominal charge for his time (he's been wrapping rods professionally off and on for 20 years or so and is now in charge of production for FethaStyx).

    So while its certainly true that one can get a fine rod for substantially less than $700, the plain fact is that neither Lamiglass (or Batson or Pac Bay or other equally good blank makers) can afford to pop for full-page full-color ads on the inside and back covers of fishing magazines every issue to help stoke demand.

    For those new to the sport, or those easily swayed by such marketing tactics, the $700 rod is simply more desirable.


  8. Agreed, and you hit the nail on the head with your last word, at least as far as the point I was trying to make. The original question was is a high dollar graphite rod better than glass that is cheaper. I asked, what does better mean. As you pointed out, I think many times because of marketing, most people think more expensive and the latest Generation 14 graphite = a better rod. I was just trying to point out that in my opinion this shouldn't be how we place value or determine which is "better". If you like a Lamiglas that cost you $200 and it does what you want it to, and you enjoy fishing it, then there is no reason a $400 graphite is going to be better.
  9. :beer2:

  10. But then again, how do you explain today's Per Brandin cane rods at around $4,000 each, or rods by the late Dickerson or Gillum at well north of $10,000? A discussion for another thread perhaps...
  11. Thank you all for the erudite insites. I think I'll pursue an older 3 wt fiberglass. The quest for purity is self defined.
  12. I think that if you really want to lay your hands on some of the sweetest casting rods ever, pick up a glass rod by one of the current builders, like Mark Steffen (who rolls his own S-glass blanks) or Mike McFarland (who has his tapers custom made for him out of E-glass).

    My goto trout rod is an 8' 5/6 wt from Mark Steffen and it is simply buttery smooth. They're certainly not for everyone, but I think some of you "hardcore" graphite users would be pleasantly surprised, I certainly was.

    cost-wise, the Steffens are right on par with a mid-priced graphite while the McFarlands are a little more. of course you can pick up an old fenwick for under $100 and be perfectly happy as well.
  13. Indeed it is! However the two terms 'older' and '3wt fiberglass' may be a bit mutually exclusive. Here's why:

    The standard line for trout rods from the 1920s through the 1970s was the equivalent of today's 6wt. This weight was so common, that many (if not most) rods were simply not even marked with a line weight. One of the few exceptions were the Goodwin and WM Grangers, which were designed for the then-light 5wt equivalent.

    Rods and lines for 4wt weren't introduced until the mid-1970s (and were then greeted with much the same skepticism that many today hold for 0wts or lighter.) 3wts weren't in common use for another decade. Since by then graphite had largely replaced fiberglass as the material of choice for plastic rods, you're likely to find very few fiberglass 3wt rods, especially in anything approaching today's ubiquitous 9 foot lengths.

    But since the quest for purity is indeed self-defined, I suspect that searching one out will be a large part of the fun:thumb:

  14. Bill,

    Re: the question, is a $400 graphite all that much better than a $50 fiberglass?

    No, of course it isn't. However, the graphite rod is lighter weight, almost certainly a much faster action, and will cast a line further for a given effort.

    I still have several fiberglass fly rods, but I haven't cast one in well over a decade, maybe longer. I like the feel of the lighter weight of graphite rods mainly. I can't really say that I use them to cast further, because I can cast as far as I need to with a fiberglass rod. And I don't catch more fish with graphite rods. I used to do the majority of my fishing with a 6 wt Scientific Anglers and an 8 wt Lamiglass fiberglass rods. I didn't have a lot of rods and couldn't afford to buy whatever I wanted on a whim, so those two rods have landed more trout and steelhead than all the rods of any material combined that I have acquired since.

    One thing is very clear to me. The fish don't know or care how much I spent on my gear. They only care that the presentation is good, and rod material doesn't matter on that count.

  15. Exactly. However it is also true that we fish for enjoyment. And, as others pointed out, you should choose you equipment appropriately.
  16. Graphite vs Fiberglass. To me it is not an issue of which one you would use as all rod designs regardless of the materials they are constructed out of will have a sweet spot for range and comfort of casting. Fish what you are comfortable with and is right for the sittuation. I own rods from both types of materials. I like graphite when I need to fish distance and have to punch the wind all day. I like to use 7' and 8' rods in the 5 and 6wt range for smaller streams where I need to load the rod quickly and still make a quiet presentation.
  17. Sportsman's Whatever here in Spokaloo carries a WW Grigg fiberglass rod with a reel for $70. As a dedicated cheapskate, that's right up my alley. The reel is probably crap, but if the rod is as good in general quality as my graphite Grigg, it will be a good deal in my book. YMMV.

    My one glass rod is something I bought from a garage sale as a kid. Didn't get the fly thing figured out back then, but hung onto the rod. I love to fish it.
  18. I have only one glass rod, a recent custom build that I acquired from a WFF member. I have over a dozen of the newer age graphites. I enjoy each of them. That glass rod, with the right line and when the caster remembers that slow and steady can deliver the fly on target a fair distance if the stroke is not rushed, is a very fun rod.
  19. Well I started in the 60's with fiberglass. Granted it was not high end glass but it worked
    and I caught a few fish. When graphite came along, I tried it. It was better, at least to my senses. I bought several. All have been fit to my casting style and my preference. I have an old Sage RPL 8 wt that I used in Canada for steelies. It did it's job. I picked it up the other day and compared to the last rod I bought, it feels like a telephone pole. My latest however, is a 5 wt. It cast like a dream.

    I have never been a cast master and fish within 60 feet of where I am standing in a stream. That is my style and I enjoy it. I have a slow casting style and enjoy a slower
    rod more than the fast snap of a fast action.

    That said, I guess I will stay with what I have. All graphite.

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